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Austria bars Turkish economy minister for event marking attempted-coup anniversary

Turkey's Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci makes a speech in Cologne, Germany, March 5, 2017. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 10, 2017, 07.26 AM (IST)

Austria has barred Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci from entering the country to attend an event marking the anniversary of last year's failed coup in Turkey, a spokesman for Austria's Foreign Ministry said in remarks broadcast on Monday, Reuters reports.

"I can confirm that (Austrian) Foreign Minister (Sebastian) Kurz has in fact forbidden the Turkish economy minister from entering the country," the spokesman told ORF radio. He said the event was "very big" and that the visit represented a "danger for public order and security in Austria".

The decision followed a similar move by the Netherlands, which said on Friday Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes was not welcome to visit for a ceremony among Turkish expatriates to commemorate the anniversary.

 

Failed coup and emergency rule

Since last year's failed coup Turkey has been under a state of emergency. The government has fired or suspended 130,000 people suspecting of having links to the putsch, and has arrested about 45,000.

In April 2017, Erdogan narrowly won a constitutional referendum that will end the parliamentary system and allow the winner of the 2019 election to assume full control of the government, reports the New York Times.

 

Authoritarianism?

Critics believe the referendum paves the way for authoritarianism in Turkey, while Erdogan claims the power is necessary to snuff out the influence of Fethullah Gulen loyalists trying to undermine his government.

The New York Times report goes on to say that the referendum itself was conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation, where opposition leaders were shot at or beaten while on the campaign trail by unknown people.

Here is a WION TV segment discussing the fallout from the referendum verdict. 

Turkish President Erdogan has won a controversial referendum that proposes 18 changes in the constitution. The opposition has called it a coup by electoral authorities, citing irregularities. Angry protests have broken out on the streets (WION)

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Critics of Turkey's government were also stunned earlier when, during Erdogan's May 2017 visit to the US, his bodyguards beat up Kurdish protesters in Washington DC in broad daylight. 

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Some video footage emerged that appeared to show Erdogan himself, apparently seated in the car below, ordering his bodyguards to attack.

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(With agency inputs)

 

 

 

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